Hyderabad: Supporters of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, and a member of Parliament, have scuttled the Congress party’s alliance with actor Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) for the civic body election in Hyderabad.
The elections are scheduled for the last week of November.
After strong protests against the alliance by Mohan Reddy’s supporters, including a plan to split the party at the state level, the Congress on Tuesday called off its alliance with PRP.
Last laugh: Member of Parliament, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. The development has given a fresh lease of life to the Jagan camp. Bharath Sai / Mint
Mohan Reddy’s supporters have campaigned unsuccessfully with the party leadership to appoint him the chief minister after YSR died in a helicopter crash in early September.
The Congress named former state finance minister K. Rosaiah as his successor and did not relent even after Andhra Pradesh women welfare minister Konda Surekha, a Mohan Reddy supporter, resigned last week.
“This is for the first time that the Jagan camp has succeeded in asserting itself before the Congress high command after the demise of YSR in a chopper crash on 2 September,” said a senior Congress leader and a Mohan Reddy supporter. He didn’t want to be named.
“Gaining strength from the unfavourable response of the Congress high command to make Jagan as the CM (chief minister), the anti-YSR forces have began moves to put a check on the Jagan camp and worked towards an alliance with PRP for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) slated for last week of November,” he added.
Another Congress leader in the state said Mohan Reddy’s supporters had conveyed to the party leadership that a poll alliance between “a strong Congress and a weak PRP would send wrong signals to the voters” that the national party had become weak after YSR’s death.
At least a dozen members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) from the GHMC region and surrounding constituencies had mooted splitting the party if the Congress leadership did not heed their demand, he said, adding that a couple of ministers were prepared to resign if the party went ahead with an alliance with PRP.
Pradesh Congress president D. Srinivas said a poll alliance with PRP was initiated only after a clearance from the party high command, but Veerappa Moily, Union law minister and in-charge of Congress affairs in the state, had denied any alliance with PRP on Monday in New Delhi.
Sharavan Kumar, PRP spokesperson and general secretary of its youth wing Yuva Rajyam, said the party’s leaders had thought the alliance with the Congress would give it a fresh lease of life.
“The PRP leadership also thought the official alliance would also help check defection of its MLAs to other parties, especially in the backdrop of vigorous attempts by some Congress senior leaders and other political parties earlier before the demise of YSR,” Kumar said.
He added PRP is still open to a ‘respectable alliance’ with the Congress, where both the parties would benefit but fears the strong dissidence in the state Congress may damage prospects in the municipal elections.